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So, what about that Inn At Little Washington?

We have a reservation for next Thursday night. And I can't decide whether to cancel or not.

I've heard and read about it for years, we will be travelling and passing right by there.....but is it as good as "they" say?

It is $128 per person on a Thursday evening.

Has anyone been there recently?

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  1. I haven't been in several years, but IMO it is definitely worth it....and as good as "they" say. I recommend staying there as the Inn is wonderful and the breakfast the following morning is phenominal, but it's definitely worth the $$$ for dinner when one has the opportunity.

    1. keep your reservation. it's definitely worth it. something everyone who appreciates fine dining should experience once. the kitchen's creativity and the restaurant's attention to detail and level of service are unparalleled.

      1. I haven't been recently -- I went a year ago. But yes, it is as good as "they" say. It was a magical evening. I can't wait to go back....in 5 years or so when i've saved up enough money!

        1. I went on April 9th. It was my one year wedding anniversary. It was absolutely wonderful. For the best possible experience, try to stay overnight. Do tea in the afternoon. It is a fantastic experience. Breakfast is ridiculously amazing.

          Yes. Go. It's everything "they" say it is and more.

          Have fun!!!

          1. We have eaten there on a number of occasions...We spent several days of our honeymoon there (having dinner, tea, and breakfast every day of our stay) and visited again for several days for an anniversary celebration. So, we have had many a meal there. It is "everything they say" and worth every penny. Absolutely impeccable.

            1. A contrary opinion from three years ago:

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              At the time it had three stars from Tom Sietsema; now he has restored its fourth.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Joe H

                I'm totally with Joe on this. I've been twice now, horribly disappointed each time. My biggest reaction was tha I felt totally ripped off. Not worth the money or the drive.

                1. re: Bonz

                  I agreed with Joe at the time. I haven't returned to the Inn, but at the prices they charge, I'm unwilling to give it a second chance. When I wa there (probably also in 2003 or 2002), I simply thought it wasn't worth the money. Good food, certainly, and very good service. But not great food and not great service. At those prices, it should be both.

                  1. re: Smokey

                    My hubby and I went there a few years ago to celebrate our 12th anniversary. We were in an area that had windows facing a garden area. The tables were extremely close together -- we could hear all too well the conversation at the next table: "I wonder what 'fois gras' is?"
                    My chair was wobbly to the point I worried about it. The wine menu had huge greasy thumbprints on both edges.

                    It was clear the waiters were trained; they all asked the same thing prior to removing our plates: "Are we still enjoying?" (That's our family joke now.)

                    It struck me somewhat like a performer who receives nothing but praise and starts to believe all the good press.

                    We found the experience somewhat pretentious and all about THEM. The food was good, although I really couldn't justify the price. And those prices really make one think twice about giving them another chance.

                    By comparison, I've had just as good food at L'Auberge Chez Francois for special events and unbelievably wonderful service. At L'Auberge they understand that it's not all about them.

                2. re: Joe H

                  I'm the "Katie" who replied to Joe's post 3 years ago about the disappointing experience sitting in the "alcove" area with 15" between tables. They lost our return business 15 years ago. I wonder if they still shove people into this area. It really was one of my least comfortable dining experiences. Ever.

                3. Thanks everyone !

                  Since we are going to be driving right by there, we are going to take a chance on the restaurant. I hope we are happy and hope we are there on a good night.

                  We eat at North 44 often! (Not so much now since a family member is a part owner of the competition just down the street!) And we loved the tuna at North 44.

                  Thanks again and I will let people know what we think of The Inn at Little Washington.

                  1. I have to chime in here. I've eaten twice at the Inn, both times at the "Chef's Table" in the kitchen. They remain singular culinary events in my life - truly memorable and wonderful experiences.

                    There's a full write up on my blog:

                    http://langrrr.blogspot.com/2006/03/i...

                    1. OK, whatever the appetizer is that night that has fois gras (?sp) and smithfield ham, you MUST get it - I wanted to lick my plate each time... I was unsure at first (a friend had recommended this appetizer after her first visit) but I was brave and ordered it and I was SO happy that I had listened... even my mother (who has huge "childhood nightmares" with liver, etc.) loved the piece I shared with her (although, I later felt bitter that I had given away even a morsel of it). And everyone there is so nice - we got lost the first time, got there 45 mins late, and yet the staff were so gracious and wonderful... definitely worth it... Yummmmm.....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: PGEAT

                        The orignial post is from seven months ago. It may have been overtaken by events !

                      2. The Inn is a unique culinary experience. Great food, great service. Not to be missed. I dont know what it was like 15 years ago, but it has been terriffic in the past five; be sure to ask for the kitchen tour. I love L'Auberge, but it's not in the same league as the Inn (not even close); L'Auberge is much cheaper, but whether an exquisite meal is worth 2 or 3 times a very good meal is an individual choice

                        I have also stayed at the Inn--once. I found that it was incredibly over-priced for a pretty nice room, and some not great extras (the Inn at Antrim near Frederick, Md., for example, is much less expensive, and provides better lodging). There are other places near the Inn that are nice and reasonable. I reccomend staying in one of them.

                        1. My SO, family friend, and I had '06 Xmas dinner there. A young man came running out to our car (how he knew it was dinner guests i have no clue except little washington is a small town ;-) and held an umbrella for the women all the way to the front door. ok, so that sets a theme right off the bat. Sublime dishes w/ very good service. though there was an unfortunate glitch with our friend's service at one point but only a slight timing problem. i mostly picked anything with black truffles or foie gras, I know, so cliched but i rarely order it otherwise hehe. The wine list though not as huge and intimidating as Galileo's was, had a very good selection in price points. i finished w/Cles de Ducs, Armagnac, yummy before going out on a cold wet night.

                          so to address some of the points posted so far:
                          cost vs. experience (after all, high end eating is about the *experience* and not just *chow* no?) The Inn has the Old World experience down. now, is the fine dining scene moving on to something else, Adrian Ferra, J. Andres, molecular gastronomy et. al.,? maybe, but definitely even the the high end chefs in Paris and Hong Kong are moving toward a more casual atmosphere toward the food and experience. do i *like* the Old World dining experience? i must say i do on occasion. and the Inn was worth it. your mileage will vary, heh.

                          Next, as the Dakota Guy pointed out: things have changed at the Inn as some of us have followed in the WPost. but as i understand it, Patrick O'Connell retains control of the restaurant and has probably bought out the Inn also from his partner, no? in any case, things could go in any direction and the chowhounds will be watching, or should I say chowing? heh.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: PakaloloDreams

                            My husband and I went there for our 10th anniversary and thought the experience was worth the money. However, having done it once, I am not dying to go back due to the expense and the fact that it is so far away. I didn't think it was that much better than a lot of the local high-end places in terms of food, but it is a memorable evening nonetheless. Loved the kitschy mooing cheese cart at the end - some of the best cheeses I have ever had in my life!

                            My opinion on the atmosphere: As opposed to some readers above, I actually like the garden alcove (but I really like gardens). It was a beautiful evening and we really enjoyed facing the flowers. In fact, I was happy to be seated there because I thought the decor of the adjacent room was a bit garish for my tastes. The proximity of the tables did not bother me, but I can see where someone might have a problem with that.

                            Another piece of advice, don't let them send you to the ordinary 'monkey bar' for a pre-dinner cocktail. They gave us a seat in there, next to a rather loud group. We immediately walked through to the next room and had our cocktail there - much nicer atmosphere (sorry, can't remember the name of it). That was actually the only part of the evening that annoyed me.

                            That said, I wouldn't recommend staying there, It's not a good value IMO. There is a wonderful B&B down the street within walking distance - the Foster Harris House. It is half the price of the Inn, the breakfast is fabulous, and the rooms are lovely.

                            1. re: PakaloloDreams

                              Nice points, though I think you mean Ferran Adria, not Adrian Ferra

                            2. Let us know what you do.
                              PS: I think it's worth it, at least once.

                              1. Oops - just noticed original post date.